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Why to seriously consider having a revocable living trust

On Behalf of | Jul 1, 2024 | Estate Planning |

Too many people don’t even consider including a living trust in their estate plan because they don’t think it’s right for them or that it’s too much trouble to establish and maintain – without even realizing exactly what it is. However, a revocable living trust is not as daunting as it may seem. With the right guidance, it can be a straightforward and manageable part of your estate plan. 

In fact, for many Californians, a revocable living trust is at the center of their estate plan rather than their will. A pour-over will is still necessary, but placing high-value assets like your home in a revocable living trust allows them to be passed on to heirs and other beneficiaries without going through probate. 

That’s because technically, when you place an asset in the trust, the trust owns it rather than you. As the trustee, however, you still have use and control of it. This means you can continue to manage your assets as you see fit, providing a sense of empowerment and control over your estate.

Placing assets in a revocable living trust

To place assets in a trust, you often need to change the ownership to the trust name rather than your own name. For example, you can do that on the deed for your home or on a bank account. You can continue to use these assets as you normally would since the trust is revocable. That includes buying or selling assets or opening or closing accounts.

Some people include assets in the trust that don’t have ownership documents – for example, jewelry, antiques, art, and even valuable family heirlooms. Typically, this is done by drafting an attachment to the trust document listing these items and the intended beneficiaries.

What happens to the trust when you pass away?

When you establish the trust, you’ll name a successor trustee responsible for it upon your death or incapacity. Once you’re gone, the trust becomes irrevocable, so the successor trustee can’t remove or withdraw any assets from it. They’re responsible for seeing that the assets go to the beneficiaries you’ve designated for the assets in it.

Establishing a revocable living trust is not a do-it-yourself operation. You’ll want experienced estate planning guidance to help ensure that the trust fulfills your goals and is legally valid. This professional support will not only make dealing with your estate less challenging and costly for your loved ones, but it will also provide you with the confidence that your estate plan is secure and well-structured.



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